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Published October 15, 2013, 02:14 PM

Grand Forks School Board OKs pay bump for administrators, staff

The Grand Forks School Board approved an increase in salaries and benefits for administrators and program directors for the next two years, saying earlier legislation requiring bigger contributions to the state pension fund drove the decision.

By: Jennifer Johnson, Grand Forks Herald

The Grand Forks School Board approved an increase in salaries and benefits for administrators and program directors for the next two years, saying earlier legislation requiring bigger contributions to the state pension fund drove the decision.

Employees who will see pay increases include the assistant superintendent and the district business manager, as well as directors of programs such as athletics and instructional services.

The approximate cost of the pay raises over the two years is $192,112, according to a district memo.

“I think part of the challenge of this was the timing of it,” said board member Cynthia Shabb, who was on the committee that determined the directors’ pay raises.

The board in September approved a controversial 21.6 percent tax increase to cover higher costs.

Board member Rebecca Grandstrand asked twice if the district could afford the raises in its budget, and Business Manager Vicky Schwartz confirmed they could.

Shabb said denying the raises would be unfair after earlier approving raises for district employees, including teachers.

“It just didn’t seem equitable,” she said.

In 2011, legislators increased contributions to the North Dakota Teachers’ Fund for Retirement, requiring higher payments from certified employees and districts from 2012 to 2014.

That legislation bumped up the contribution by the district. Starting July 1, the district started paying 10.75 percent of the employees’ gross incomes into the fund, and in 2014-2015 it will pay 12.75 percent, Schwartz said.

Teachers already started paying 9.75 percent of their wages into the fund July 1, but will have to pay 11.75 percent in 2014-2015.

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